Are you struggling with the painful aftermath of discovery of an affair? Do you feel hurt, confused, betrayed, angry, sad, numb, or in shock and disbelief? Know that these are very common reactions to such an event.
Most couples will attempt to talk about the “what” and “why” of an affair, an often difficult conversation that can all too easily end up in arguments, blame, and defensiveness. Perhaps you and your partner have attempted to talk about the breach in trust, trying to decide if you want to work toward healing your relationship and how to do so. As you look more closely at your relationship, you may try to understand what the affair means to you as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. You may recognize that this is a critical time to consult with a professional counselor, who can help you navigate your situation. There are many questions and emotions that emerge. It is appropriate to utilize the resources and support that you need to assist you in sorting through the often overwhelming feelings, conflicting thoughts, and uncertainty about the future of your relationship.
Why Did This Affair Happen?
An affair is often a daunting challenge for a couple to attempt to understand. It is hard for most people to come to terms with the reality that a partner has made a choice that in some way threatens the emotional connection and intimacy that has been established in the relationship. This can be an actual physical/sexual relationship, or what is called an “emotional affair,” where a partner in some way creates a relationship with another person or thing, that seems to be a greater focus for his or her time, energy, and emotional connection. This can also include hobbies, excessive work hours, flirting, texting, emailing, online activities, or group involvement that may take precedence over the primary intimacy you share as a couple. However an affair occurs, it feels painful when your partner is taking actions that seem to leave you out, or diminish the attention and emotional connection that is important to you. You may have a valid concern that the affair is threatening the relationship. While there may not be one clear answer as to “why” affairs happen, it is important to gain awareness to your specific situation.
In the aftermath of an affair, it may seem easiest to avoid the uncomfortable feelings and hope they will go away, along with associated negative memories. For many couples, these feelings don’t disappear, but can turn into lingering mistrust, anger, sadness, and resentment, related to the loss of the intimate bond. Affair Recovery Counseling can help you begin the process of working through feelings and establishing hope for a new beginning.
At Ann Arbor Couples Clinic, I take an honest and nonjudgemental approach in assessing partner interactions, emotional styles, and needs. In the case of an affair, it is easy to think you will be negatively judged in the counseling setting. We seek not to blame or find fault with one person. We work to understand the dynamic that is occurring between the two. With the aid of a caring, couples therapist, you can determine what you and your partner can do to begin to heal from an affair, to foster honesty and empathy, and to rebuild trust in your relationship.
What To Do If Your Partner Refuses Affair Recovery Counseling
If your partner refuses Affair Recovery Counseling, you can seek Individual Counseling to work through your emotions, thoughts, and the meaning to you of your partner’s breach of trust. Individual Counseling can help you determine what actions you wish to take in response to the affair.
If you are the one who had the affair, and your partner refuses Affair Recovery Counseling, then Individual Counseling would be very important for you to assess what exactly precipitated the affair, and how best to proceed.
If you would like to schedule an appointment or discuss any questions you may have about Affair Recovery Counseling or Individual Counseling, please call 734-417-9522. I try to return voicemail and email within 24 hours.
It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work
and that when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey
the mind that is not baffled is not employed
the impeded stream is the one that sings.
Wendell Berry, Standing By Words (1983)
Everything depends on inner change;
when this has taken place, then, and only then
does the world change.
Emotions consist of energy and a story.
If we let go of the story, only the energy
If you wait for the ideal, you’ll never start.
Always you must take what is nearest at
hand, no matter how unpromising, and
accept it as the only and therefore best
thing you can do and by sheer hard work
transform it into this thing you need.
The greatest gift a parent has to give a child-
and a lover has to give to a lover-
is emotionally attuned attention and
Susan Johnson Ph.D (Creator of “Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy”)
Do not abandon the longing that comes from the sense your life could be much more, that there is a state in which you can function on a level of inner resilience, contentment and security; where you are capable of deep feelings, of blissful pleasure; where you (can) meet life without fear because you no longer fear yourself.
Eva Pierrakos, The Pathwork Series
The more you are identified with your thinking, your likes and dislikes, judgements and interpretations, which is to say the less present you are as the watching consciousness, the stronger the emotional energy charge will be, whether you are aware of it or not. If you cannot feel your emotions, if you are cut off from them, you will eventually experience them on a physical level, as a problem or a symptom.
This being human is a guesthouse.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.